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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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I was browsing around on the overdrive of my library and saw this book. The title called to me first and then the cover!! I remember being excited to watch the show when it first aired so I was really surprised to see that it was based on a book. I have to say that the show pretty much stayed true to the book.
With the strain it is a neat idea on the vampire plague. These are not your normal vampires and the way the authors used descriptions on the way they fed and how they were affected was awesome. I could actually visual it. The stingers that these vamps have are just freaky.
This is not your regular vampire story that will make you fall in love with them. These guys are the ones that you hope the good guys kill off.
Another neat part of the story I liked was how the characters had to use UV lights to see the worms that were inside of people. For me that does seem unique as I have never read that before anywhere else.
We are introduced to Eph who works for the CDC, while working for the CDC he also has to deal with personal issues with his home life and the custody of his son.
When he gets a call he isn't prepared for what it is going to lead to, as the story builds up he gets the answers via someone who has been hunting this plague down. We get the back story of Abraham and why he hunts which I thought was good so we just weren't making assumptions. It will be up to a small team of people to stop this virus from leaving but can they stop it in time?

As far as characters go they were all well developed and the plot was steady. I will be reading book two to see what will happen next.
If you want a new outlook on vampires, not much gore then pick this book up.
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VINE VOICEon 22 December 2014
I watched the TV show first, but had to get the book and it's far more gripping. The characters are well drawn out and it has the unmistakeable touch of Del Toro in the more descriptive elements. An excellent read and one I can thoroughly recommend. It's mercifully short too, no extraneous ponderings, just one captivating moment after another... Get it now, you won't be disappointed!
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on 16 December 2016
love this book
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on 4 May 2017
Great book
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Possible Spoilers

If you are looking for another Vampire Diaries - well this is the wrong book for you!

This book one of a trilogy of novels by Guillermo del Toro and crime novelist Chuck Hogan. The Strain tracks a group of humans as they battle the spreading vampire blight which arrived in New York City on a Boeing 777 from Germany, after a routine landing it is found on the runway at JFK airport, with no power and initially no living passengers. What follows is almost definitive Vampire tale where there is no ambiguity over whether there is real evil or not - here humanity fights for survival, there is no seduction process and no romance in this lore. Here the Vampires, also known as strigoi have stinger-like appendages in their throats that shoot out when attacking - at the expense of having any vocal cords. As time moves on their bodies start deteriorating into grotesque, inhuman, zombie-like creatures.

The vector for the transmission of the vampiric pathogen are little worm like creatures that are carried in the pus-like white blood of the strigoi, which can exist outside their host bodies for a time - so even if a human kills a vampire, they can still become infected through contact with just one of these worms. This feature adds a dangerous new dimension to this strain of vampirism. Your usual suspects are here too, such as a Van Helsing type character in the form of an Eastern European Émigré and Holocaust survivor. With his is own rather spooky backstory. You have two Scientists who find that this is no ordinary viral/pandemic and soon come to realize there are darker and older forces on earth at work here. As always the powers that be, i.e. the government, do not want to know or have been prevented from understanding the true scale of the problem. One of the CDC staffers - Centre for Disease Control - shows duplicity in his loyalties, as he assists the Master to escape JFK airport. Here also you find a very rich, but very ill man (corporate creed personified?), who does not want die but live forever and he has a plan, as he tries to prevent the good guys at every turn - for he has done deal with a powerful Vampire known as the Master - via one of his acolytes a former Nazis officer now vampire, intermediary and fixer. We are to learn that the Master was one the `first ones'- a group of the very first vampires on Earth, they are also known as the Ancients.

From the start you gripped, by the narrative as Regis aircraft is found lifeless after landing. The CDC representatives believe they are dealing with a deadly but allusive antigen. For his own reasons this super vampire is out to turn as many humans into his vampire acolytes. Gone are the pale red lipped Hammer House horror stereotype vampires. These creatures are repulsive with long horrible stingers that can shoot out of their mouths. The themes that run throughout are more viral in nature and seem to be more like a pandemic.

These strigoi creatures do not seduce or romance their victims they are devoid of any humanity, instead they seek out their human family members and loved ones, and this then is vampire reproduction - twisting the basis of family. This is a book that has a solid foundation, in the form of a unique, gory and genuinely disquieting take on the vampire genre - and all in all a highly recommended read!
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on 22 December 2014
very positive experience
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on 8 January 2016
Loved this book - a total break away from all of the romanticised vampire novels out over the past few years. I was gripped from the first chapter, loved all the characters and frankly it left me afraid to get on a flight ever again (you never know when a stowaway vampire might come around with your in-flight meal!! ;-) ) Highly recommend.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When a plane lands in JFK, quickly stalls and shows no signs of life from the two hundred or so passengers and crew aboard, the reader is quickly gripped by the escalating and horrifying events that occur. A virus is now spreading throughout New York; capable of changing its human host into something that requires blood to survive.

Guillermo Del Torro and Chuck Hogan have collaborated to produce a book that pays homage to the old school vampire stories. We have the crazy old vampire hunter/long time archenemy of the undead (in this case Abraham Setrakian whose very name parodies Van Helsing), the Master vampire (think Nosferatu rather than Dracula) and the intrepid hero (in this case Ephraim Goodweather, the head of a team of rapid response epidemiologists working for The Center for Disease Control and Prevention).

As Eph and his team struggle to understand and contain this outbreak, there are those that would see it covered up, those that remain unconvinced there is a genuine threat and those that want to ensure the proliferation of an incurable virus. As the initial plane victims begin to head home to convert their loved ones and continue the spread of this disease, Eph and his posse of vampire slayers are now armed to the teeth with weaponry straight from "Blade" and on the hunt for the Master himself.

There is plenty left unexplained in this book and an ending which certainly gives the reader the belief a sequel will certainly follow. That said I was left in no way unsatisfied by the concluding pages of "The Strain". This 400 page novel is packed with excitement, character development as Eph and other significant individuals deal with personal issues alongside the increasing drama unfolding around them and dark moments of suspense and genuine horror. A classic vampire story with a modern twist, "Strain" is an entertaining and enjoyable read.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
In one word "Gripping"! Right from the moment I started reading it, the narrative is so good that the feeling of building-up of dread in the plot is palpable. Told in a very "visual and cinematic" way which builds up "scene by scene". I won't say much more, since it would spoil it, but get this book and read it! This is the first of a trilogy. I have read all three and the beginning of the first book is one of the most suspenseful, with the air of eerie foreboding.
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on 27 May 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If like me you like to be prepared for the inevitable Vampire Apocalypse then you can't do much better than Del Toro and Hogan's `The Strain'. This is a vampire story that ditches the lace and romance of the genre and instead plays out in an ultra modern and realistic way as seen in '28 Days Later'. What would really happen in modern day New York if a Vampire outbreak occurred? Set over a week it shows the slow build up of Vampires and society's reluctance to appreciate the danger. The slow, depressing and grinding build up is brilliant and really adds a weight and menace to the novel.

The book peaks during the small vignettes that refer to individual people's lives. Away from the main narrative you jump to someone being stalked in a closed shopping mall, or in their home. These sections are riveting and brilliantly written. The Vampire lore used is also exceptional; respecting what has gone before, but adapting it to suit a modern take. The less successful elements surround the central narrative. This is needed to give the book a sense of purpose, but lacks the intelligence of the side elements. I was not too sympathetic of the central Doctor character and mush preferred his allies who I could relate too. The story also abandons its slow build up at the end for a slightly ill judged action finale.

Overall, I still found the book fantastic. The intelligent and realistic way that Del Toro and Hogan tackle the issues work to ground this fantasy book in the real world. There is a sense of grungy 70s horror and the writers' love of the genre shines through. I look forward to the next book in this trilogy and hope for a better narrative to accompany this vivid world. This is a must for all genre fans and especially fans of Vampire novels.

Sammy Recommendation
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